Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Opening night

Last night was opening night at the Stratford Festival.

For some crazy reason, a protest was held to call attention to poverty. Having worked in Canadian theatre myself, it surprises me that a group against poverty would choose a theatre for its protest. It surprises me even more that the stage crew wasn't outside picketing themselves.

Ah, yes, the memories. Best $2.50 an hour I ever made was working in theatre.


Friday, May 26, 2006

Breaking news?

From CNN:

-- Capitol Police say the apparent gunshots that sparked a Capitol shutdown were likely caused by workers using tools.

Best remember this the next time I head to the United States. Tiptoe, and make no sudden movements or loud noises. Sheesh, a whole country that startles easily.

The more things change...

For years, all we heard from the opposition parties was how arrogant the Liberals were. And they were right. Remember the "beer and popcorn" mess?

But now it seems the Tories are drifting into Arrogantville themselves. Maybe the taste of power and an opposition in disarray has given them the stones to start being jerks.

First, there was David Emerson. Now, Stephen Harper says the public doesn't care that he's trying to control the messages coming out of Ottawa. The fact is, it goes both ways, and he needs the media to help him out.

It's been a few years (well, sixteen) since I was a news reporter, but from what I remember, you sure get an easier ride when you're a politician who has some friends on the other side. You can be an asshole all you like, but don't start complaining when someone doesn't like it.


Thursday, May 25, 2006

Inverhuron Provincial Park

We spent a few cold soggy days at Inverhuron Provincial Park over the long weekend. This park opened for overnight camping last summer, and it's quite nice. The campsites aren't all that private, but they've just recently been hacked out of the bush, so that's to be expected.

The beach is sandy, but there's also a stretch of shoreline that is quite rocky. The girls had a good time looking for seashells and sparkly rocks, and sitting by the campfire to stay warm. The one afternoon that it poured rain we taught the five-year-old to play Texas Hold 'Em and Blackjack while the two-year-old slept. Good thing we weren't playing for money - she kicked my ass!

This was the maiden voyage in the new trailer, and we tried out the heater and the heated mattresses, neither of which we thought we'd use much. Good thing they were there!

From the "kids say the darndest things" file... I'm in the comfort station with the two-year-old, and I need to use the facilities. The place is busy, and I'm afraid that if I leave her outside the stall she'll run out the door of the comfort station when someone comes in. So I take her into the stall with me, and she uses her best outside voice to ask, "What are you doing?" I say, "nothing, I just need to sit down for a minute." After a while she figures out what's going on and shouts, "Oh! You pooped in the potty! Good for you!"

The joys of toilet training a two-year-old. At home she gets a sticker when she does that, but all I got was a high five.


Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The secret to a happy life

Ok, here it is. My secret to success and a happy life. Pay attention, it's short and sweet.

Wear comfortable underwear.

I know, you're saying, "That's it?" I'll admit, it's not very complicated, but it doesn't need to be. If you take issue with this philosophy, wear some uncomfortable underwear for a couple of days and see if you don't change your mind. Maybe a grape holder, or knock a couple of sizes off your regular brand.

I can prove this with a story.

It's a Sunday evening, late November, 2000. My wife is a week overdue with our first child. We're told to go to the local hospital for labour to be induced. I'll spare you the details of how that's done, but let's just say there's a period of unpleasantness, followed by several hours of waiting, then a baby arrives. The plan is then for us to go home and wait until labour has progressed far enough to warrant a trip back to the hospital for the main event.

So we're at home, and I'm looking in the underwear drawer. Two pair to choose from. One comfortable, one not so much. I choose the uncomfortable pair, since the plan has me returning home from the hospital to spend the night waiting to go back in the morning. I figure I'll change my underwear then, and be ready to spend the day in the relative comfort of good underwear. Good idea, yes?

We head in to the hospital around 4:30 in the afternoon, expecting to be home in a couple of hours. Well, the place is sheer madness. One doctor is running from delivery room to delivery room and we're still sitting there waiting for him at 6:00pm. Suddenly, my wife says, "I think my water just broke!" No way. Can't be happening. That's why we're here - to get things started. I stroll down the hall to the nurse's station and tell them what's going on. They look at me like I'm crazy, but decide to check it out anyway. Sure enough, we're in labour. And I'm not wearing the right underwear! On top of that, we didn't even bother to bring my wife's bag with us. (Ok, I'm an idiot, I know).

I place a quick call to my wife's sister, and she brings the bag in. In retrospect, I should have asked her to bring my good underwear, but that might have been a bit too much to ask... The end result of this was me spending 38 hours wearing the most uncomfortable underwear I own. And people say that husbands don't suffer through childbirth!

At least the binding of my underwear didn't impede my vision, and I got to watch the birth of my daughter, 24 hours after we arrived at the hospital.

Fast forward three years. In the middle of a late October night my wife wakes me up to say that her water has just broken, and baby number two is on the way. Step one, grab the most comfortable underwear I can find. Step two, grab my wife's bag. Step three, call her sister to come over to watch daughter number one. Step four, head to the hospital. This game is easy! Twelve hours later daughter number two arrives.

So there you have it.

Baby coming? Wear comfortable underwear.
Job interview? Wear comfortable underwear.
Prom night? Wear comfortable underwear. Or none at all. Also proven to be successful, but that's another story.


Tuesday, May 16, 2006

This week in the News of the Weird

I wonder how they would get someone to volunteer to test these...

Artist Ira Sherman's high-tech "Impenetrable Devices," exhibited earlier this year at the National Ornamental Metal Museum in Memphis, are sleek, wearable gadgets whose common purpose is to thwart rape. Sherman said his "genital armor" and "castration mechanisms" were borne from listening to rape victims recommend instruments to provide bodily security. "The Injector" shoots an identifying dye, and sedatives, at the rapist; "The Bear Trap Corset" and the "Intimate Electric Fence" are self-explanatory; and the complex Cremasteric Reflex Corset employs steel spikes delivered by a pressure-sensitive air valve. Said Sherman, "All my (devices are) plausible." [The Tennessean, 1-22-06]


Thursday, May 11, 2006

Thoughts of the day

1) Beating stupid people doesn't make them any smarter.

2) I received a spam email trying to sell me the fountain of youth. I think there's enough youth around these days - what we really need is a fountain of smart.


Wednesday, May 10, 2006

15 Ways to Live Longer

Forbes has a list of 15 ways to live longer. Let's see how I measure up.

1. Don't oversleep.

I have a five-year-old and a two-year-old. No chance of oversleeping.

2. Be optimistic.

Tough one. From 8:00 to 4:30 it's hard to be optimistic. Overall though, I think I'm even on this one.

3. Have more sex.

See #1.

4. Get a pet.

Yup. Here she is:

5. Get a VAP (cholesterol test).

I have, but not recently. Bad me.

6. Be rich.

If only I'd had the foresight to get a RIM job ten years ago...

7. Stop smoking.

This implies I'd need to start in the first place.

8. Chill out.

Dude, don't harsh my mellow.

9. Eat your antioxidants.

I'd say I'm ok on this one.

10. Marry well.

Hey, it's my fifteenth wedding anniversary tomorrow, and I could not have married better.

11. Exercise.

Summer == biking/hiking. Winter == curling. Got this one covered.

12. Laugh a little.

See #1. One thing the parenting books fail to mention is how funny the little darlings are. I am often doubled over laughing at the things my kids come up with.

13. Lose weight.

See #11.

14. Manage stress.

See #12. And #11.

15. Meditate.

I never really saw the point to meditation. Maybe this is it?

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Service of the day

I was in the grocery store, and there's a sign in the fruit section that says, "Let us core your pineapple for you, at no extra charge!"

Well, I can't remember the last time I had my pineapple cored, but I'm pretty sure I had to pay for it.

Oooh, I feel dirty just thinking about that.


Monday, May 08, 2006

Top Management Lies

Hot on the heels of the 10 Things VPs Never Say, come the Top Management Lies.

I'll add one:

"We realize what a disaster this project has been, and we won't do it this way again."

Really means: Until the next time someone promises an unrealistic date.


Thursday, May 04, 2006

The Five Most Common Lies in Business

Fast Company reports on the Five Most Common Lies in Business.

Any of these sound familiar?
  • People are our most important asset.
  • This was a rational decision.
  • We judge people by their performance.
  • This is business, it isn't personal.
  • The customer comes first.


Monday, May 01, 2006


On the weekend I was talking with my two-year-old about going camping. The highlight for her last year was seeing several moose in Algonquin Park. I asked her what animals she thought we might see this year. She said "mooses!"

I said, "yes, and we might see some raccoons, and some deer. What else?"

She says, "Peckerwoods!"

I say, "what!?!"

She says, "Peckerwoods!"

I say, "you mean woodpeckers?"

She says, "yeah, woodpeckers."